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Employment Contracts

Employment Law

Do you have questions about employment contracts in Australia? Here is a good starting place.


Specific Issues

On-Demand Resources

View on-demand information about specific issues related to employment agreements and contracts in Australia.


Need advice about employment contracts? Call Anderson Legal for a fixed-price initial consultation.



This firm safeguards what matters most and acts purposefully in times of crisis. It acts for employers, executives, and employees.

Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Royal Commissions, Fair Work Commission and multiple other courts and tribunals, Andrew Anderson has a demonstrated record of success in complex and difficult cases.

As a boutique law firm, Anderson Legal is dedicated to providing expert advice and representation in dealing with workplace issues. Although based in Brisbane, this firm advises clients nationally.

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an experienced lawyer who has been independently described by the Courier Mail as “one of the best legal minds” and a “leading corporate and white-collar crime lawyer” (16 December 2021)

Andrew Anderson - Lawyer

Employment Contract Lawyer

If you have searched “employment contract lawyer” or for an “employment lawyer“, you will see there are many options available. Why get advice from Anderson Legal?

If you seek an experienced lawyer to help you when dealing with employment contracts, Andrew Anderson has a proven track record of successfully guiding his clients through challenging, complex and serious problems.

The areas of law Anderson Legal handles are narrow yet deep. It ensures this firm can handle all cases to the highest standards, no matter the complexity.

Personalised Solutions

Anderson Legal takes the time to understand the circumstances and priorities of each of its clients and tailors solutions accordingly.

Employment contracts are an essential element of many workplaces, however, it is often assumed rather than examined whether they are ‘fit for purpose’.

Resolving contract disputes is not always straightforward, as other issues often affect decisions – reputational risks, financial realities, and opportunity costs.

This firm offers tailored strategies to resolve workplace problems.

Workplace Bullying Lawyer - Anderson Legal

Employee Recruitment Risks

The legal risks for employers during recruitment processes are not always fully considered until an issue emerges. Risks are present at every stage of the recruitment process, from the nature of the role itself to advertising, interviewing, selecting, and agreeing on an employment contract.

Properly managing employee recruitment risks is the first step for employers to build strong, safe, and productive teams.

The following six recruitment risks need to be managed by employers when seeking to hire a new employee:

  • Discrimination claims
  • General protections claims
  • Employee contract risks
  • Pay and entitlement risks
  • Work health and safety risks
  • Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)

Failure to manage such risks can spell commercial, operational and reputational risks, beyond the legal issues involved.

Employees vs Contractors

Employees and independent contractors have different rights and responsibilities.

An employee performs work under the direction and control of an employer. An independent contractor has a high degree of control over how they provide services to another person or business. While a contract may clearly specify whether a person is an employee or contractor, the appropriate classification can also be determined by considering:

  • level of control over how work is performed
  • financial responsibilities
  • tools and equipment
  • delegation rights
  • ongoing or short-term nature of the work

There can be serious implications for businesses and organisations that enter into sham contracting arrangements. In addition to the compensation that may be payable to the individual, courts can impose large penalties on individuals and corporations for knowingly or recklessly entering into sham contracting arrangements.

National Employment Standards

In Australia, 11 minimum employment entitlements must be provided to all employees covered by the National Employment Standards (NES). These minimum employment entitlements will protect full-time and part-time employees if their job falls under the national workplace relations system (i.e., Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)). Most employees in Australia fall within this category.

Casual employees are only entitled to some of the minimum employment entitlements.

The 11 National Employment Standards are:

  1. Maximum weekly hours
  2. Requests for flexible working arrangements
  3. Converting from casual to permanent
  4. Parental leave and related entitlements
  5. Annual leave
  6. Sick / carer’s leave and other leave
  7. Community service leave
  8. Long service leave
  9. Public holidays
  10. Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  11. Fair Work and Casual Employment Statements

Businesses that fail to comply with the NES may face many types of court orders, such as:

  • Payment of a fine by individuals or corporations involved in the breach
  • Payment by the employer for unpaid or outstanding entitlements (plus interest)
  • Undergo training or assessment
  • Restrain individuals or corporations from doing, or omitting to do, certain things
  • Compensate an employee for loss suffered
  • Reinstate an individual back into their job

Employment Conditions

Employment contracts ought to make the terms and conditions clear for both employers and employees.

Contracts often have the following topics covered (executive contracts typically include additional terms):

Conditions

Conditions of employment often include clauses related to the duties and responsibilities of the employee, their hours, work location, probationary period, and leave arrangements. Other clauses may relate to the obligations of the employee around confidential information, compliance with workplace policies, privacy, workplace surveillance, and social media.

It is always in the interests of an employer to have terms and conditions in an employment contract that align with the specific needs of the workplace, rather than adopt a generic template that does not take account of business needs.

Remuneration

Depending on the nature of employment, remuneration clauses can deal with a range of issues. It can include specific salary or wage conditions, as well as salary packaging arrangements, expense allowances, discretionary benefits, and casual loadings.

Failure to include all relevant details about remuneration in an employment contract can lead to wage disputes, which can lead to investigations by regulators such as the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Termination

Termination clauses in an employment contract can be important for businesses to manage legal, financial, and reputational risks when ending an employment contract. Common clauses include termination options, payment in lieu of notice clauses, as well as other obligations that may have been negotiated such as restraint of trade and non-disparagement clauses.

Standard Terms

The absence of properly drafted standard terms can lead to unnecessary disputes between employers and employees.

The standard terms in a contract relate to clauses that make the enforcement or operation of the contract clearer. This may include clauses that make clear the contract is the ‘entire agreement’, whether any waivers, warranties, or acknowledgements apply, as well as what jurisdiction governs the contract and how it may be varied.

Varying Employment Contracts

Business and organisational needs change. The need to vary employment contracts can arise for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Changes to an employee’s role
  • Work relocations
  • Performance target adjustments
  • Remuneration changes

There are real legal, financial, and reputational risks for employers seeking to vary employment contracts. This can include breach of contract claims, unfair dismissal claims, and discrimination claims.

Seeking to unilaterally vary an employment contract can constitute a repudiation of the contract and constructive dismissal. For this reason, varying employment contracts is best done through negotiation and agreement between the employer and employee, generally with independent advice being considered by both parties before any changes take effect.

Employment Contract - Full Time

Employment Contract – Full Time

Full-time employees are generally employed on an ongoing basis and work ordinary hours (often a standard 38-hour week).
An employment contract for full-time work will generally be drafted to incorporate the entitlements of the employee, as well as other discretionary benefits that may apply to their position.
Employment Contract - Part Time

Employment Contract – Part Time

Part-time employees work a regular number of hours that are less than the ordinary hours of full-time employee.
Part-time employees generally receive the same pay, conditions, and entitlements as full-time employees, such as annual leave and superannuation, paid on a pro-rata basis.
Employment Contract - Casual

Employment Contract – Casual

Casual employees do not get the same entitlements as full-time and part-time employees, which is offset by casual loading payments.
Employment Contract - Fixed Term

Employment Contract – Fixed Term

Fixed-term employment contracts are used for employment that is only ongoing for a specified period or specified task (e.g. one year).
Once the ‘fixed term’ is reached, fixed-term employees are terminated as the employment contract automatically ends. This differs to full-time and part-time employees who are employed on an ongoing basis.
Employment Contract - Executive

Employment Contract – Executive

Executive contracts relate to individuals performing managerial or executive functions that generally fall outside the scope of modern awards and enterprise agreements.
It is common for executive contracts to contain negotiated terms around bonuses, notice periods, restraint of trade terms, and confidentiality.
Training Agreement

Training Arrangement

A training arrangement is “a combination of work and training that is subject to a training agreement, or a training contract, that takes effect under a law of a State or Territory relating to the training of employees”.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), a person employed only under a training arrangement cannot bring an unfair dismissal claim.
Free Consultation

Anderson Legal offers a fixed-priced initial consultation to businesses, executives, and employees concerning employment contracts.

Who this firm assists

Anderson Legal has a focus on resolving workplace problems. It provides advice and legal services to:

  • small business operators
  • executives in medium to large enterprises
  • employees in medium to large enterprises
  • public service employees

The fundamental importance of employment contracts to businesses and organisations makes it critical to have an employment lawyer who can take a personalised approach to such issues. If you need an employment lawyer, there are many reasons why Anderson Legal should be your preferred choice:

  • Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an experienced lawyer who has been independently described by the Courier Mail as “one of the best legal minds” and a “leading corporate and white-collar crime lawyer” (16 December 2021).
  • Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Royal Commissions, Fair Work Commission, and multiple other courts and tribunals, Andrew Anderson has a demonstrated record of success in complex and difficult cases.
  • Prior to operating a law firm, Andrew Anderson worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers. His depth of courtroom experience ranges from straightforward claims right through to complex trials and appeals.
  • Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and working for just outcomes is an everyday pursuit.

Read below how this firm can assist you, what it costs to get advice, and when to contact this firm.

How this firm can assist

With respect to employment contracts, this firm assists businesses and organisations to navigate all kinds of issues, including:

  • advising on the recruitment and selection processes for potential employees
  • assisting with the drafting of employment contracts
  • developing policies and procedures that align with employment contracts
  • outlining the options for employers with respect to contract issues, such as:
    • the formation of the contract
    • performance of the contract
    • suspension and variation of contracts
    • termination of employment contracts
    • post-employment obligations
    • remedies for breach of contract
  • representing businesses and organisations litigating employment contract disputes in courts and tribunals

Note: Anderson Legal does not provide advice or representation for compensation claims under personal injury or workers’ compensation laws.

What it costs to get advice

Fixed price initial consultation

Fixed-Price Consultation
One-Hour Consultation
Confidential
No-Obligation Consultation

A fixed-price initial consultation is $495 incl. GST for up to one hour, which may be tax deductible (consult your tax advisor).

If you are dealing with questions about employment contracts, book an appointment for an initial consultation with Anderson Legal. It is designed to deliver clear and timely advice that allows you to understand the relevant legal issues and make informed choices about the action that may be taken.

The time is devoted to ensuring an understanding of the particular issues to allow advice to be given based on the information you provide, which may include:

  • The legal framework for employment contracts:
    • Employer rights and responsibilities
    • Employee rights and responsibilities
    • Appropriate steps for the specific situation
    • Relevant contract and policy issues
  • Outline the benefits and risks of specific clauses
  • Specific issues with employment contracts:
    • the formation of the contract
    • performance of the contract
    • suspension and variation of contracts
    • termination of employment contracts
    • post-employment obligations
    • remedies for breach of contract

An initial consultation with Anderson Legal is obligation-free, meaning there is no expectation or commitment to further legal work or costs. If you want to engage this firm to provide you with further advice or legal representation, estimates of costs will be provided as far as possible.

Initial consultations are by appointment only, with in-person, video, and phone options possible.

Representation for employment contract disputes

Anderson Legal is transparent about how it charges legal fees.

This firm generally charges on a capped-fee, fixed-fee, or time-costed basis. How you are charged is something that may be negotiated and your preferences are taken into consideration.

Please note that Anderson Legal does not undertake legal work on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis.

In representing businesses, executives, and employees with respect to employment contracts, Anderson Legal puts in place a formal costs agreement with all clients. This includes a disclosure statement outlining important rights, as well as quotes or estimates for applicable legal fees.

When to contact this firm

Employment law issues can have strict timeframes, so it is prudent to seek legal advice as soon as possible for employment law concerns.

Employment contract disputes can involve many legal complexities, which can have profound consequences for reputations, relationships, and livelihoods. It is the reason why it can be critical for business operators, executives and, managers to get legal advice when drafting employment contracts, and when disputes arise.

If you want legal advice, you should call Anderson Legal to set up an appointment for a fixed-price initial consultation: